Time vs. Money: Which is More Valued by Society? Which is More Valuable to You?
A wise person once said that time is money. In many ways that’s still true today. People are paid on an hourly basis and most companies rate their employees as part-time or full-time, based on the number of hours they work each week. We pay rush charges for packages that are delivered quickly and fees for movies we return late. But when looking at time and money - is one more important than the other?
Retailers often charge extra for goods or services that are intended to make our lives easier – like dry cleaning delivered to our houses, bottled water or pre-chopped, pre-cleaned lettuce for our salads. In this hectic day and age, many people are willing to pay for these conveniences. For some, anything that saves time or puts a few minutes back into their day is worth the additional costs associated.
On the other hand, those willing to spend a little extra time can often save or earn a great deal of money. When shopping, those that take the time to compare prices among stores or clip coupons can save significant sums. Those that work overtime or devote time to researching sound financial investments can also turn their time into additional money. For these folks, the extra hours they spend working or thinking carefully about purchases and investments can result in money earned or saved.
Despite the two sides to this coin, there are many similarities between time and money. Both are saved. Both are spent. Both are in demand. And it seems that both are always in short supply. But which is more valued?
On a personal level, with the constant struggle to balance both our checkbooks and our date books, it comes down to our values. Are we willing to sacrifice our valuable time (time we could spend with family, relaxing or pursuing hobbies) to earn or save more money? Or are we willing to spend the valuable money we work so hard to earn (and certainly don’t want to waste thoughtlessly), to buy additional time?
On a societal level, it comes down to the same two questions but in this case the answers are based on the collective values of our population, as well as the demands we’re facing as a group. Interestingly, it often seems that despite the fact that society represents a collection of people, its values are not inline with, and perhaps even a direct contradiction to, those of the individual.
For most of us it’s not one or the other, but a constant struggle to find the balance between our time and our money. But where does your balance lie? Would you really say it’s 50/50? Where do you think society’s balance lies?